Rodney Hood: Making a Case for Duke and Ohio State

By David Sokol on June 26, 2012 at 3:00p
Cbus or Durham?Rodney Hood will make any coach happy

At this time last year, Rodney Hood had just enrolled at Mississippi State University as the 2011 class's most heralded recruit and one of the highest rated prospects the school had lured in in quite a while, perhaps since Renardo Sidney in 2009 (Sidney was supposed to be a guaranteed NBA Lottery pick, but has struggled on and off the court).

Hood, the former McDonald's All-American and consensus five-star prospect, went on to be a major contributor as a freshman, averaging ten points and nearly five rebounds a game.

He was later named to the SEC All-Freshman team and is now widely considered to be an NBA Draft pick down the line.

After the season (April 2012), Hood decided that he had enough at Mississippi State and would be making a move to another program:

"It was just a long, tough year for me. Coach [Rick] Ray will be a great asset to Mississippi State and getting to know him last week made this decision even harder, but after much thought, I am going to ask for a release. I wish my teammates and the program nothing but the best."

After this news, his former teammate Arnett Moultrie eluded to the fact that wherever Hood ends up, he'll make quite an impact and will probably only play one year before making the jump to the NBA.

Hood's initial short list of schools included schools from all over the country with Florida State as the early favorite. As time progressed, Ohio State, Duke, Florida State and Memphis emerged as his short-list and later narrowed it down to Ohio State and Duke. He will decide on Wednesday or Thursday this week.

Landing a player like Hood could be greater than landing a top high school prospect as Hood already has the college experience and the freshman learning curve is in the past.

Most programs would take Hood in a second and both OSU and Duke hope to land this big fish. Here's the two cases on why he should pick either school in a few days.


Coach Krzyzewski may have won the battle for Hood's services just by getting him to visit campus. Ohio State fans were thrilled when they learned that he skipped out on the Coach K Academy weekend to visit Ohio State, but Hood made it up a few weekends later.

As referenced in yesterday's Skull Session, Hood only had positive things to say about his experience at Duke and his thoughts on the program:

"I went to the visit and I got to talk with Coach K eye to eye and the rest of the coaching staff. I met some of the players. You know, it just felt great. When you go to Duke you’re playing on the highest level of college basketball and the tradition there is great so it was good to go visit."

In summary, he's saying Duke is Duke, which is true. Look at the Duke track record, look at Coach K, and the staff. It should be such an easy sell for Duke to tell Hood to just look at Duke's wings in the NBA. Shane Battier was a wing at Duke and just won himself a ring as the team's top role player in the finals. Coach K is going to be coaching Team USA in the Olympics again for heaven's sake. That's hard to say no to.

Besides those facts, let's look at the roster breakdown for the Blue Devils.

Like Ohio State, Duke has plenty of open scholarship spots on their roster.

Unlike Ohio State, Duke is very thin on the wing and the competition for playing time is less of a factor in Durham.

Michael Gbinije, Duke's sole returning wing with experience, opted to transfer to Syracuse, leaving that spot wide open for any worth suitor. The 2012 class did add a late pickup from McDonald's All-American Amile Jefferson, who does play the wing and was once interested in Ohio State.

In reality, there is little competition at the wing for Duke. Obviously, that could change with the 2013 class but, as of right now, the Blue Devils only have a guard committed and will probably opt to use the scholarships elsewhere, if Hood commits.

Transferring to Duke could be hard to turn down.


Familiarity and comfort are two big factors that Ohio State has over Duke.

Come hoop with me, Rodney.Ross could help lure Hood

Current Ohio State wing and fellow Jackson, Mississippi native LaQuinton Ross is good friends with Hood and could prove to be a deciding factor when he makes his decision in a few days.

Also referenced in yesterday's Skull Session, Hood is often asked about his relationship with Ross and told SNY:

"I’m just going to make my decision. It’s the second time around so I want to make the best decision for me. I just like the coaching staff there and ‘Q’ is a bonus. But I like the players and I just like the basketball part of it."

Luckily for Coach Matta and staff, "Q" and Hood were both invited to attend the Kevin Durant Skills Academy this week in Chicago, part of the same series that Aaron Craft (Deron Williams Skills Academy) and Deshaun Thomas (Amar'e Stoudemire Skills Academy) attended in the last few weeks.

With Hood's decision looming later this week, Ross will have plenty of opportunities to get in Hood's ear and let him know how much he wants him to be a Buckeye. Although Ross probably didn't have the type of year or playing time he had originally hoped for and later got upset at the staff publicly on Twitter, it seems that Ross has changed his outlook on Ohio State and is poised for a big season, which could only help the Hood situation.

Ohio State also has plenty of open scholarships (10 scholarship players for the coming season) and the staff is currently doing everything possible to fill another spot for the coming season.

However, playing time could be a little more difficult to come by at Ohio State as the Buckeye roster is loaded with wing talent. Deshaun Thomas does occupy a "wing" role and would be a senior when Hood becomes eligible in 2013, that is if he doesn't leave school early. Sam Thompson, LaQuinton Ross, and Lenzelle Smith (can play the 2 or 3) are bona fide wings that will surely eat up a lot of available minutes and current commit SF Marc Loving will be a freshman upon Hood's eligibility.

Regardless of the congestion on the wing, Hood is a great player and the competition should not scare such an accomplished and hyped athlete away, but draw him in as good basketball players want to be pushed to be the best they can be. At Ohio State, Hood would not have a cake-walk in practice as he would go up against other skilled wings, improving his game to the max extent. At Duke, Hood would have to battle against bigger forwards or smaller guards in practice which is different than actual game play.

At Ohio State, Hood would have great competition against all the other Buckeye wings, better preparing him for actual games.


Duke is hard to turn down for any prospect, it's Duke, unfortunately, and it would be pleasantly surprising if Hood chose Ohio State at this point.

There is still hope that LaQuinton Ross has gotten in his ear and persuaded him to be a Buckeye. We will all find out soon enough.



Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I know Duke is Duke, but what competitor doesn't want to go up against great competition each day in practice. That right there would be enough for me. And tOSU campus is a million times better than Durham.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

David Sokol's picture

I was really hoping Hood wouldn't visit Duke, but the visit may have pushed him over the hill.


tennbuckeye19's picture

What do you make of Bob Baptist's (from the Dispatch) tweet in regards to Hood, that rumors out of Chicago are that Buckeye fans will be happy?

Alex's picture

that makes me feel good...the Dispatch doesn't publish any joe schmo rumors

David Sokol's picture

I hope it's true. He had a write up yesterday with some rumors from Chicago, but nothing is certain, obviously.

Hopefully the Evan Turner success story sells well for Hood, just like it did for Ross (and probably many other current and future OSU wings).

AcrossTheField11's picture

Actually, Duke is hood... Durham is a janky ass town.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

William's picture

Durham is a super janky city. The only decent areas in that city are Duke's Campus, and the NC School of Science and Math's campus. Duke does have an awesome campus though. 

David Sokol's picture

Never been but am looking to attend the Ohio State @ Duke game this year for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It seems like a good opportunity to go.

GABuckeye's picture

David - how are you going about getting tickets?  I want to take my brother to an OSU game, and neither of us have ever been to Cameron Indoor.  Thoughts?

David Sokol's picture

It's going to be hard as hell to get a ticket to this game. You'll probably have to use Stubhub in this case.

As it gets closer, hopefully there will be opportunities to get a ticket through OSU.

AcrossTheField11's picture

Cameron indoor is an unbeatable experience but be prepared becuase its about 110 degrees in there at gametime. 
Do yourself a favor though and stay in North Raleigh by Briarwood.  There are several hotels there and its a great area.  You can hop on the highway and be to Dukes campus in 10 minutes max and you won't have to worry about getting shot.
I lived in Raleigh for over a year in 2009/2010.  I miss it sometimes but I'm ultimately glad to be back in Ohio.  Especially this time of year.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

buckeyes411's picture

I have a good feeling that he's coming to OSU.
I agree 100% with your paragraph about how good players should want good competition when in practice.. even if Duke is Duke and Coach K is Coach K..
Come play with your childhood friend from Mississippi!

Righteous Hoosier's picture


Sure Duke got bounced by Lehigh and OSU making the Final 4 (and smacking the crap out of the Dookies in November), but it’s Duke. If you don’t believe that, ask certain Buckeye football players why they chose OSU over another good program.

Also, I think the LaQuinton Ross angle is getting overplayed, just as it has been with other teammates, friends, etc. in various past recruitments. If they were that close and wanted to play together that badly, Ross would have gone to Mississippi State. If Trey Burke and Jared Sullinger were that close, Burke could have ended up at Ohio State. If Mark Titus and Greg Oden were that close, why was Titus trying to play for Harvard (kidding).

It’s what is best for Hood, which may or may not be OSU. But it’s simply hard to turn down Duke and Coach K. That being said, if Hood ends up in Columbus, he will be a factor in two years for sure.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Kinda hard for Burke to end up @ OSU since he never had an OSU offer.

Righteous Hoosier's picture

Fair, but you get my point. I hope. 

Matt's picture

Titus being Titus:
clubtrillion If I was certain it wasn't a violation, I'd tweet @Rodneyhood4 and tell him Matta is blast to play for & will give him freedom Coach K won't
11 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite

David Sokol's picture

Hopefully that's not a violation haha

tennbuckeye19's picture

Does a tweet from a former walk-on carry as much NCAA violation weight as if the tweet had come from a star player, like Evan Turner? Somehow I doubt it.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

for Titus..not you guys lol

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

AcrossTheField11's picture

Lol there's no way this is a violation.  He has no connection with the program.  Furthermore, Titus is a smart guy (hence the gratuitous amounts of wit in everything he creates).  There's no way he didn't look into this beforehand.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

tennbuckeye19's picture

There's a chance you're giving Titus far too much credit.

Alex's picture

screw guess: BUCKEYES

Jason Priestas's picture

I'm going with the good guys as well. Think he picks Ohio State over Duke, but that could be the inner homer in me.

BuckeyeNation's picture

I'm picking the Buckeyes for a couple of reasons. 
1) LaQuinton Ross
2) Better over-all team
3) Better campus
4) If I remember correctly, I recall reading on multiple sites (including this one) that he grew up a huge Duke fan and never received a scholarship offer from them out of H.S.
Now, I know this may sound immature... but as a 19yr old kid maybe this is a little payback to Duke by leaving them in the top two til the end! Maybe?

David Sokol's picture
David Sokol's picture

I really hope this is wrong.